UAA’s Center for Human Development is working to better understand brain injuries
by Vicki Nechodomu |
In Alaska, brain injuries are particularly prevalent compared to the rest of the country. Alaska leads the nation in traumatic brain injury-related deaths, with falls being the leading cause of brain injury (41%), followed by motor vehicle incidents (24%) and assaults (11%). March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and UAA’s Center for Human Development is engaging in significant work to better understand traumatic and acquired brain injuries in Alaska.
“A brain injury can happen to anyone at any point in their life,” said Danielle Reed, director of Community Services at the UAA Center for Human Development. “Following an injury, many people are sent home with few resources and have limited access to appropriate follow-up care. Brain injury is an invisible disability and someone recovering from an injury might have challenges with things like thinking, memory, sleep, vision or depression. It’s important they have access to the right support and resources to aid their recovery.”
Building on the work of and in partnership with agencies such as the Alaska Brain Injury Network and the Alaska Department of Seniors and Disabilities Services, UAA’s Center for Human Development coordinates the Traumatic and Acquired Brain Injury (TABI) Advisory Council. The council engages in advocacy at the state and federal levels and creates a vision for Alaska’s system of support for persons with TABI through development of the Alaska State Plan for Brain Injury focused on prevention, awareness, resources, data and infrastructure.
This month, members of the TABI council and the broader Alaska community are sharing their experiences, perspectives and knowledge to raise awareness of the impacts of brain injury in Alaska.
“Brain injury does not discriminate — if you have a brain, you are already vulnerable,” said Guylene Derry, TABI project coordinator/resource navigator at Daybreak and Alaska TABI Advisory Council member.
“As common as potholes in spring, so are the number of brain injuries in our state,” said Derry.
Many council members have become advocates because they have first-hand experience and understand how important useful resources are for individuals and families of individuals who have sustained a brain injury. Rebecca Young, LPC, CBIS, is a UAA clinical-community psychology graduate student]. "Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be a slow process,” said Young. “We do not hike a mountain with a broken leg. When recovering from a head injury we must manage our expectations on what we can achieve day to day.”
- Follow the UAA Center for Human Development and the College of Health social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for Alaska brain injury facts and personal stories.
- Practice prevention by wearing a helmet, ice cleats and rubber soled shoes. Use handrails and take care on the road.
- Get a brain injury screening if you’ve fallen, been in an accident or had a recent concussion.
- Share your stories through the #MoreThanMyBrainInjury awareness campaign.
- March 3: Creativity Throughout Brain Injury Recovery webinar from the Brain Injury Association of America.
- March 7: Where Americans Live Impacts Their Chance of a TBI-Related Death webinar from the Center for Disease Control.
- March 9: Understanding the Cellular Roots of Alzheimer's Disease webinar from the Allen Institute.
- March 14: Panel Discussion with Brain Injury Providers, hosted by the UAA Pre-Med Club for UAA students.
- March 15: Brain Injury ECHO for individuals and family members, a free online training from UAA’s Center for Human Development.
- March 16: Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill webinar from the Brain Injury Association of America.
- March 16: Congressional Brain Injury Task Force for Awareness Day Virtual Briefing hosted by the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators.
- March 25: CESA student interview of Dr. Adam Grove, naturopathic physician, Alaska TABI Advisory Council member on UAA’s Student Health and Counseling Center.
- March 26: Brain Bee, a fun neuroscience competition for high school students hosted by UAA, providing activities such as a Neurotour in the Planetarium, sheep brain dissections and live rat training demonstrations. Encourage high school students to register.
- March 31: Self-Advocacy after Brain Injury: An Evidence-based Model of Empowerment webinar from the Brain Injury Association of America.
- April 8: Traumatic and Acquired Brain Injury (TABI) Advisory Council meeting hosted by UAA’s Center for Human Development.
- April 22: Springfest: Shine the Light (Goose Lake, 5-9 p.m.), an event offering information about domestic violence and partner-inflicted brain injury as well as food trucks, canoes, games and more.